WIPO Lex is an electronic database which provides access to intellectual property (IP) laws and treaties of the Members of WIPO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations (UN). It also covers IP-related treaties administered by various multilateral and regional organizations as well as bilateral treaties which contain IP-relevant provisions. WIPO Lex aims to provide legal information which is authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date. Given the scope of coverage, the database is a work-in-progress and updating of entries is done on a continuous and regular basis.
Presentation and layout
The legal texts are presented according to the hierarchical category of the issuing legislative authority (see Members’ Profiles). Generally, this means that the starting point of a given legal framework is the Constitution or Basic law of the land, followed by laws enacted by the legislative branch of government (and in certain jurisdictions, those issued by the executive). The next tier in the hierarchy is the implementing rules and regulations, which provide more details and "flesh out" the related statutory enactment.
Texts of laws, regulations and treaties are arranged chronologically from latest to the earliest reflecting the full title as it appears on the body of the text.
Historical version and related texts
Only those primary and subsidiary legislation which are currently in force are listed under each Member's profile. However, the historical version(s) of the texts (eg., those which have been repealed or superseded), to the extent that these are available, are featured on the Bibliographic Entry page for each text. In addition, the Bibliographic Entry page includes information concerning any related legislation (eg., those which amend, repeal or consolidate), the dates of the current version and entry into force, and in certain instances, it contains "Notes" which highlight relevant information concerning that particular legislation.
The sources of WIPO Lex are multiple. The texts in the database come from any of the following sources:
- Notifications from WIPO Members under Article 15(2) of the Paris Convention and Article 24(2) of the Berne Convention, which provide that member States must communicate to the International Bureau of WIPO all new laws and official texts concerning the protection of industrial property and copyright and that the latter must assemble and publish this information.
- Notifications from WTO Members under Article 63.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) which obliges WTO Members to notify their IP legislation to the TRIPS Council.
- Direct submissions from national IP offices of texts of IP laws and regulations.
- The websites of national IP offices and other credible legal databases from which authorization to reproduce the texts in WIPO Lex has been secured in cases where prior authorization is required.
To the extent possible, all available language versions of any given text are featured on WIPO Lex, including the relevant national language. Where the English version is unavailable from the above-mentioned sources, WIPO makes every effort to provide courtesy translation in English for main IP laws, especially for laws of least-developed and developing countries.
The development of WIPO Lex takes into account all potential users. Full accessibility of some parts of the site may be more difficult to achieve due to the nature and complexity of the content which is received in a variety of electronic formats; however, finding solutions to these issues is one of our priorities. Efforts will continue to make WIPO Lex fully accessible to the general public.
WIPO maintains WIPO Lex to facilitate public access to information concerning IP laws, regulations and treaties. Every effort is made to provide authoritative and up-to-date legal texts. Errors brought to our attention will be promptly corrected (see contact page and include errors to be corrected or any other comments for improvement of WIPO Lex in a box "Question"). However, it cannot be guaranteed that a text in the database is an exact reproduction of the officially adopted text, especially in view of formatting features which have been added, and are intended to facilitate viewing and use of the text as well as maximize its accessibility to a wide audience.
This database is general in character and is not meant to address specific issues or problems of any particular individual or entity. No legal advice or recommendation is implied in its content nor should any be inferred therefrom.